Valentine's For Lovers Too
“I love you!”
Sean turned his head away in disgust, at the words that had become her mantra. His face burned with anger as he spoke to the wall, his voice cold. “If that were true…”
The door slammed behind him.
Beth watched him go, not wanting to believe it. She was alone, again, in his house, in his life. Beth’s fingers nervously trailed to her stomach, where the first buds of new life drew her awareness. “He loves me, he loved me, he loves me,” Beth repeated the words as she traced circles around her center. The tears came unbidden, but expected.
She forced herself up from the bed & to the door. Her face pressed against the cool frame, she listened to the silence compete with her inner turmoil. Her hand slipped to the knob & she fell into the hall. The door swung shut behind her. He, him, Sean, you, us gone. As Beth lifted her eyes to peer through tear streaks, the pale white nothingness of the empty wall tore into a scarlet sky above ebony stone strewn plains. Beth screamed. This was her space, this, her home. Sean had only been a distraction; this was where her child had been conceived. Her perceptions folded in upon themselves in shards of awareness as Beth felt the ground thunder as footsteps approached. Then nothing.
Halfway down the stairs, his hand dragging along the rail, Sean stopped. He was angry, he didn’t want this, he didn’t need it. He’d tried so hard to get his life to this point, spent so long getting here. Who was this woman he had invited into his home, into his life to ask of him what he could never provide. He sighed, then jerked his head upward at the sound of heavy footsteps above his head. Too heavy to be Beth chasing after him. Sean waited a moment, til the point the footsteps were at the top of the flight of stairs he stood on. Before he could turn around, he was overwhelmed by a sense of betrayal. Who the hell was she to lie to him, swearing that she was on the pill. He had told her from the start that he didn’t want children, he didn’t have the time or the resources. She’d lied! He cursed her name, even as he wondered at the hand on his shoulder. His anger unquelled, even as the teeth tore out his throat.
Where Beth had lain on the floor of the hall, he lifted his eyes and sniffed the air. Man, below him, hesitating. He felt the man thing’s emotions rise, anger smelling sweet on the wafting air. His tongue lolled as he rose, making no effort to cloak the sound of his footsteps. The man’s anger blinded him, providing ample camouflage, minimizing the prey’s natural flight or fight response as it puffed away in face of fury. He stood at the top of the stairs for a moment, admiring the creature’s fragile nature. Too bad, he thought as he flung himself down the stairs at the man.
The little bit of blood left behind pooled together on the stair, one lone trickle finding its way through a warp in the board onto the step below. As he absently watched the drop congeal, smearing scarlet brown ichor over the white, Officer McKinnehey carelessly smeared it with his black regulation boots.
Chief Medical Examiner, Tim Gryvern, grabbed the officer’s shoulder. “Watch it, Henry!”
Henry McKinnehey shook himself, as if waking from a dream of purple twilight. “Sorry, Tim, what time is it?”
Gryvern looked with disapproval at the drying smear on the other’s left boot. “You just started your shift,” he made a show of pulling a pocket watch out of his inner jacket, “ten hours ago, Henry. It’s time to wake up.”
Crimson eyes loomed out at McKinnehey, who fell backwards into Tim, knocking the smaller man off kilter. “Damn, Henry, if this is getting to you, maybe you oughtta go home.” Tim brushed himself off and gestured to the other officers. “I think the boys here will take care of all the details, and I’ll make sure you’re the first to see my report.
The smear on his boot seemed suddenly infinitely more interesting to McKinnehey.
- Valentine's For Lovers
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